Some of us will try to remember whole essays word-for-word which isn’t officially recommended but as long as you are prepared to (and know how to) adapt it to the question then it shouldn’t be too bad.
It’s really about finding out what approach works best for you but having some possible essays structures and flexible thesis ideas up your sleeve will make sure that you can write an impressive essay in just 40 minutes.
Always, always, always plan your essays in an exam. You want to basically write down your thesis (probably one you’ve prepared earlier but tailor it to the specific question) and the structure of your body paragraphs.
We go into a bit more detail on planning over here if you’re keen 👍 .
Essay writing is enough of a struggle when there isn’t any time pressure.
Add in a 40 minute limit and that’s pretty much breaking point for a lot of us 🙃 .
If you can’t, either move on and try to come back later just cut your losses, conclude that point and move on.
Not every essay will give you source material (a picture or quote that you have to refer to) but you will always have a verb or keyword in the question that tells you how to position your argument.
Keep your paragraphs to a regular structure like PEEL/PEAL (point, example, explanation/analysis, link) so you have a clear idea of when you’ve written enough in each paragraph and when it’s time to just move on.
Memorising essays gets a little controversial but I think we all agree that you need to, at least, have a few ideas and potential essay structures going into that exam room.